Penn State Football: Ireland Opener Highlights College Football's Reach Abroad

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 14, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: Running back Michael Zordich #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions pumps up teammates before they play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

As American football continues to expand its horizons, more opportunities to play abroad will be pursued. Case in point: Penn State and Central Florida will open their 2014-15 campaigns in Dublin on Aug. 30, 2014, per Josh Moyer of Nittany Nation.

According to the Irish Times, the game's organizers believe it will add perhaps another 100 million (the estimated amount the last college football game in Ireland added) to the Irish economy, as well as boosting the recent growth in American visitors.

It's a great way not only to expand American football to other countries around the world, but also to assist other countries in tough economic times. It's a partnership many hope will last moving forward and, frankly, should.

There's no reason not to continue reaching out to the world as American football flourishes in the United States.

The game between Penn State and UCF will be played at Croke Park, which has the capacity to hold 69,000 fans. It's already been given a name: "The Croke Park Classic." It's this kind of buzz that organizers in college football and the NFL have just started to really capitalize on. 

Penn State and UCF were rather logical considerations for Dublin, considering Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien and Knights coach George O'Leary both have familial ties to Ireland.

O'Leary said after the news on Sunday, via Mark Brennan of Fight On State on"On a personal level, obviously Coach O'Brien and I are both of Irish heritage, so it means a great deal to both of us to be in a position to bring our teams here."

As Dan Wolken of USA Today Sports noted:

Not only will the word be spread via television, but programs like Penn State and UCF are sure to add to the buzz. Coaches, players and staff members will come back from their trip with all kinds of stories to tell.

American football may be the most popular sport in the United States, but there's no question more efforts are being made to boost its popularity throughout the world. For a sport that is already widely popular in America, it's hard to imagine what games like these could do for American football on a grand scale.


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